'No soap' response to claim urged
WESTLAKE VILLAGE - The owner of a mobile car wash says business' fear of "making waves with the city" is keeping his trucks from gaining access to parking lots to wash his customers' cars.
Car Wash Guys owner Lance Winslow, his wife and business partner, Leslie Nims, and an employee are seeking $1.35 million from the city.
The Westlake Village City Council tonight will consider a recommendation by its insurer to deny the claims. The council meets at 7:30 p.m. in Westlake Village City Hall Council Chambers, 4373 Park Terrace Drive, Westlake Village.
Citing the cost of prosecution, the city in September decided to dismiss legal action against Nims and employee Yojana Maria Nuno-Lopez. At City Manager Ray Taylor's direction, the women had been arrested and immediately released July 30 after refusing to stop washing cars in a business parking lot.
City officials maintain that a city law prohibits mobile car washers from operating. Attorneys for the women and Winslow contended that the city has no such law and instead was relying on ambiguity of an exiting law.
Taylor said the city's position remains the same and that the law will be modified in the near future to specifically address mobile washers.
Winslow said that since the arrest of his wife and Nuno-Lopez, Car Wash Guys and Car Wash Gals have lost business in the city.
He contends that his wife has suffered emotionally from what the couple considers an illegal or false arrest.
Nims and Nuno-Lopez are seeking $550,000 each from the city. Their attorney, Mitch Kahn, said they were wrongly charged with a crime.
Winslow is seeking $255,000 from the city, alleging it has cost him a loss of business in Westlake Village.
Winslow said that property managers and business representatives have told him that without "permission" from the city of Westlake Village, they cannot permit car washing in their parking lots.
But Taylor said Tuesday: "We haven't corresponded or contacted various commercial centers or businesses about the mobile car wash businesses."
Said Winslow: "A place like Blue Cross told us that until they had permission from the city of Westlake, they were not going to make waves."
A spokesman for Blue Cross, Larry Bryant, said Tuesday that the company did not ban such service.
"It's greatly appreciated by our employees," he said.
According to Winslow, "Dole Corporation said they don't want us on their property because the city doesn't like it. They'd call us about once a week or every other week."
A Dole spokesman, Tom Pernice, said a mobile car wash firm was washing cars in the parking lot as late as Friday. He said car wash trucks come around randomly, and that "no one I know of has said they can't."
Pernice said no one from the city has contacted his company about the mobile car wash about the mobile car wash firms and that Dole has no official position about them.
Winslow said Westlake Medical Center also backed away from letting the mobiles operate because "the city doesn't approve of it."
The hospital's director of marketing, Kris Carraway, said the hospital decided "at least a couple of months ago" not to allow mobile car wash firms access to the hospital's parking lot.
"A number of doctors in the past used the lot to have their cars washed, but visitors complained about spray going on their cars, so we've asked them not to wash cars," said Carraway.
Winslow said the complex where Mayor James Emmons has his property management business and the Hughes Shopping Center complex, managed by Emmons' company, also are denying the mobile car washers access.
Emmons said the owners of the Hughes shopping center do not allow mobiles to operate.
Reprinted from News Chronicle, November 10, 1993.